Monday, January 19, 2015

The Christmas Present that just keeps on giving me stress!

When Gary was a teenager, he was a very accomplished drummer.  He was in a band for several years until he broke his wrist in a fall and somehow drifted away from the hobby. 

He is now 66.  When we lived in the Bay Area, he celebrated many birthdays but on one of his birthdays (in his late 40s), I rented a rehearsal studio for him, complete with a drum set and he played for almost 4 hours.  I never forgot how happy he was during that time.  So, when he announced that he wanted a drum set for Christmas, my heart gave in to the whim. 

The week before Christmas, I started shopping online and found many drum sets for purchase.  I picked out 4 and showed him.  While looking at them, I noticed an ad on the side page for an electronic set.  I pointed out the option and after much studying, he decided that was his choice. The electronic set was ordered to be delivered on Christmas Eve. During all this I realized that the drum set did not include a throne or stool to sit on. I ordered it separately for delivery after Christmas.  I should have known this purchase was too easy.

The LARGE box arrived on Christmas Eve as ordered.  I am always amazed at how Santa fits all those items in such a tiny sleigh....  I was more amazed when we opened the box on Christmas Day that the entire set was packed carefully in 10 boxes and puzzled into one large box.  I did not pay a lot of attention to how the boxes came out of the large box as my Dad and Gary unpacked most of them.  Now, for the directions. 

Gary is pretty much a pain in the butt when it comes to assembling anything.  His mechanical skills which were formerly well-honed have all but disappeared.  Dad and I took over and after about 4 hours, assembled the stands, drums and various pieces.  (I am omitting the yelling, frustration, curse words, perspiration and crying from the story.  All from me, of course.  My Dad was an angel in this situation.) 

Gary sat down the play the drums.  There was no sound.  Dang it!  After more research, we determined around 9:00 that night that it needed either headphones (for private playing) or speakers.  NOT INCLUDED.  I explained this to Gary and we decided to visit Best Buy the following day to purchase both. 

After returning from Best Buy the following afternoon, it was determined that both the speakers and the headphones worked but not to Gary's liking.  "Why didn't you just get me a regular set of drums liked I asked?  Send them back." 

The words were deafening.  Really?  After all that assembly, upset and unrest and you want to return them?  Well, after all, it was a $400 dollar purchase and if he is not going to use them, well, I will send them back to the store.

My father and I started to disassemble the electronic drums.  Much to our chagrin, we realized that all those components had to go back into the exact box from whence they came and the box needed to be placed carefully back into the Large BOX in the exact same position.  How disheartening that was!

Hours later.......I am ready to leave my husband and go to the mountains to be a hermit.  Had my father not been there helping and calming me, I may have really left.

At one point, I was so stressed over getting all boxes back into the box that he looked at me and said, "Why don't you walk away and let me do this?"  How magical that moment was for me.

I walked away for a while and heard Gary say, "Why are you packing up my drums?"  He had forgotten why the drums were not suitable for him.

Dad and I sealed the box he had finished and put it by the front door for its pick up by the same poor fed-ex guy who delivered it the first time.  It sat for three days, in the way, awaiting its pick up.  What a sore issue it was. Finally, one evening around 7, the door bell rang and the carrier took away the drums.  He also delivered another box....the separately ordered drum throne!  I put it aside and thought nothing more of it.   I'll return it another time.  I was at my limit.

Call me crazy, but I felt guilty that I returned Gary's Christmas present and not replaced it.  Several times, he asked when his new drums would arrive.  So, I looked on the Internet the day following the return of the electronic set.  I went to Amazon and found 10 sets of equal price to the first set and showed them to Gary.  His response was that the drums I was searching were not good enough and that the cymbals needed to be made by Zildjian.  That added several hundred dollars to the purchase.  NO WAY>  I got over my guilt rapidly and told him we would have to keep shopping. 

It was not the money.  It was the point. 

So, Mr. Gary, you will need to wait.  Sure.....another week.  I went back to the Internet, found the "perfect" drums and ordered them.  They arrived and on this past Saturday, I put them together.  I know nothing about drums.  I know nothing of high hats, toms, etc.  Of course, the set did not include directions. 

Luckily, I found videos on the Internet that showed how to set up a similar set.  Of course,the variations were not explained and I had to look at still pictures, zoom in and blow up the picture to see intricacies of the pieces.  For example:

How does one get the piece attached that holds the drum onto the cymbal pole thingy and make it NOT dump over from the weight of the drum?  

YouTUBE does not have a question and answer forum.  So, I used the best source of knowledge I had in the house.....Gary.  I convinced him that this project was not overwhelming and that if he used logic he could help me.  Of course, he knew. Change the center of gravity and mount the darn thing lower!  When asked how to make the high hat pedal work, he instantly rearranged the pieces and it worked like he had done it everyday.

The drums are assembled.  The boxes have been destroyed.  Guess what?  I even kept the drum throne ordered for the first set so he can sit at the drums and play as much as he wants.  He did just that yesterday.  He just needs to practice again and again.  The drummer boy is still in there.  He was smiling.

After about an hour of playing by himself, he came into the office and said, "There is just one more problem. "  When asked what now, he responded, "My leg hurts from pounding the pedal against the big drum."

After more questioning, we determined that his muscles were sore and there was nothing "WRONG" with the drums.  Sorry dear, you will just have to keep practicing and build up those muscles.  Amazon can't fix that!

Glad that adventure is DONE! 



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